WHAT BACK DOOR?

what back doorI pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Ephesians 3:16-18

 

Recently, I was asked to participate in a group about groups. A number of folks apparently stood out as potential leaders for small groups at our church, and the pastor invited us to spend six Wednesday evenings together discussing what small group leadership looked like to us. During one of the initial meetings, the topic of shrinking attendance at all mainstream Christian churches in the United States came up. Someone said, “We need to close the back door so people won’t leave.” I wasn’t sure if that was meant as a joke or not. Perhaps I’m not the person to ask about closing the back door.

 

You see, I’m a “new” Christian. I only accepted Christ as my personal Savior forty-four years ago, when I was twenty-eight, so I don’t consider myself a “life-long” Christian. I didn’t grow up in the church. I never had parents or grandparents or pastors or Sunday school teachers who tried to “raise me right.” I didn’t go through confirmation until I was almost twenty-nine, long after my teenaged-self thought I knew more about life than church could teach me, for heaven’s sake! You see, I’m still excited about church, and I have no intention of leaving, by the back door or the front door or the window. I’m here for the long haul. They are stuck with me, warts and all.

 

So I can’t get into a discussion of “closing the back door” to retain current members or ensure new members stay. All we have to do is get them so excited about Christ that they won’t leave. Ever. If there is anything I will have to say about it, I plan to share my faith in a way that gets other people excited too. God doesn’t want us perfect. He just wants us excited to know Him.

 

Lord, I pray that each member of our church…“may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ.” Amen

 

Meg Blaine Corrigan tells stories of wisdom, strength, fear, joy and risk-taking. Daughter of a raging alcoholic mother, and survivor of sexual assault at gunpoint, Corrigan has shaken a dismal past and flung herself into the arms of Christ, Who sustains her in her daily walk of grace. She shares with her listeners her incredible story of surviving and thriving through many trials during her seven decades walking this fragile earth. She has been described as a Renaissance Woman, integrating her formal training in psychology and counseling, an enlightening experience as a percussionist for a Polynesian show troupe, and most recently as an inspirational author and blogger. Her exposure to many life experiences has enriched her passion for spreading Christ’s word and helping other trauma survivors. She has a Master’s Degree in Guidance and Counseling and thirty-plus years of experience in the field of counseling and social work. She lives in Lake Elmo, Minnesota, with the love of her life, Patrick, and their formerly disenfranchised rescue dog Ginger. www.MegCorrigan.com   MegCorrigan@comcast.net

MULTITASKING

Professor and Baby (2)Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you. 1 Peter 5:7

 

Professor Bruce Johnson was surprised the photo went viral. As a math teacher at Arkansas State University, holding a baby while lecturing to his class was no big deal. He and other profs at the college often encourage their students to bring their children to class when childcare arrangements fail. “A student brought her two-year old son and we played for some time,” Johnson reported enthusiastically.

 

My husband and I experienced a similar situation at an orthopedic symposium in Hawaii several years ago. We were invited to a dinner put on by what I call a “body parts” company (medical implants manufacturer) and a surgeon was giving a presentation. When the infant son of a couple attending began to fuss, the doctor kept lecturing while he went over to the parents and collected the child, and cuddled him while continuing to lecture. I think it is refreshing when a potentially serious, no-nonsense situation can become a delightful experience for all involved because someone decides to multitask so another person can relax. Both the students at Arkansas State University and the young couple at the orthopedic symposium absorbed more information, and some child-loving lecturers got their “baby fix.” What’s not to like?

 

God is the ultimate Super Multitasker. He can hold each one of us in His loving arms and make us feel that we are the most important person in the history of the whole human race. He is so close, if we listen carefully, we can hear Him breathing. At the same time, God can orchestrate the migration of a million Monarch butterflies, keep the water flowing in all the rivers on earth, and touch the hearts of worshipers around the world, all on a Sunday morning. He can mend the broken heart of a sixteen year old boy when he is rejected by his first crush, help an oncologist save the life of her patient, and whisper in the ear of a dying man in his own language on the battlefield in a faraway country in a war that breaks His holy heart. God is there for each of us when we need Him, in our finest hour and our worst nightmare.

 

We thank You, Lord, that Your love is everlasting, large enough to simultaneously meet each of our needs. Amen

 

Meg Blaine Corrigan tells stories of wisdom, strength, fear, joy and risk-taking. Daughter of a raging alcoholic mother, and survivor of sexual assault at gunpoint, Corrigan has shaken a dismal past and flung herself into the arms of Christ, Who sustains her in her daily walk of grace. She shares with her listeners her incredible story of surviving and thriving through many trials during her seven decades walking this fragile earth. She has been described as a Renaissance Woman, integrating her formal training in psychology and counseling, an enlightening experience as a percussionist for a Polynesian show troupe, and most recently as an inspirational author and blogger. Her exposure to many life experiences has enriched her passion for spreading Christ’s word and helping other trauma survivors. She has a Master’s Degree in Guidance and Counseling and thirty-plus years of experience in the field of counseling and social work. She lives in Lake Elmo, Minnesota, with the love of her life, Patrick, and their formerly disenfranchised rescue dog Ginger. www.MegCorrigan.com   MegCorrigan@comcast.net

LIQUID RAINBOW

Cano Cristales RiverWhenever the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and all living creatures of every kind on the earth. Genesis 9:16

 

The Caño Cristales River runs through Colombia’s Serranía de la Macarena national park, in the province of Meta, and is known as the “River of Five Colors.” Translated to English, the “Crystal Channel” is a 62.1 mile-long river that flows bright red, green, yellow, blue and black when conditions are right, with the brightest colors from June through November. The colors are produced during the reproductive process of a certain type of river weed. This “liquid rainbow” is one of Colombia’s most amazing natural wonders, drawing visitors from all over the world.

 

Caño Cristales is a fast-flowing river with many rapids and waterfalls. Small circular pits known as giant’s kettles can be found in many parts of the riverbed, which have been formed by pebbles or chunks of harder rocks. Once one of these harder rock fragments falls into one of the cavities, it is rotated by the water current and begins to carve at the cavity wall, increasing the dimensions of the pit.

 

This “liquid rainbow” reminds me of God’s covenant with His people in Genesis 9. The Lord said, “This is the sign of the covenant I am making between me and you and every living creature with you, a covenant for all generations to come: I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth” (vs. 12&13). To me, every natural wonder that God has created is a covenant between God and all the people of the earth. This planet is our only home, the one God gave us on which to live. The Scriptures are full of references to God’s mighty works and how human beings are not only in awe of them but charged with their care. The psalmist says, “One generation commends Your works to another; they tell of Your mighty acts” (Psalm 145:4). It is our covenant—agreement—with God to pass on to the next generation the beautiful natural wonders such as Caño Cristales, intact and preserved as God intended.

 

Creating God, we thank You for the mighty works of Your hand. We promise to care for them for You as long as we live here. Amen

 

Meg Blaine Corrigan is the author of three books: Then I Am Strong: Moving From My Mother’s Daughter to God’s Child; Perils of a Polynesian Percussionist; and Saints With Slingshots: Daily Devotions for the Slightly Tarnished But Perpetually Forgiven Christian. She holds a Master’s Degree in Counseling from the University of New Mexico and has over thirty years’ experience working with survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, war veterans, and other trauma survivors. Her books may be purchased through her website, www.MegCorrigan.com or from www.amazon.com .

HITCH YOUR WAGON TO A STAR

Covered WagonThe fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Galatians 5:22-23

 

Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882) was an American essayist, lecturer, philosopher and poet who greatly influenced society during his lifetime. He and his close friend, Henry David Thoreau, both proposed (among many other ideas) that man’s relationship to nature was of paramount importance. “Philosophically considered,” Emerson said simply, “the universe is composed of Nature and the Soul.” He rejected the idea that God was separate from the world, that He lives in some far away heaven that mortal man cannot see, touch or feel. Emerson’s and Thoreau’s thinking was radical at the time but many of their followers embraced the idea that exposure to nature was inherent to individual peace and tranquility. Many today still believe God is closest when people stay close to nature. Indeed, I find great solace in spending time among this world’s beautiful scenery and wildlife.

 

One of Emerson’s most famous quotes was, “Hitch your wagon to a star.” The saying has been used in all sorts of ways in the two hundred-some years since Emerson wrote it. A simple explanation of his meaning might be for us to “aim high, set our sights on a lofty goal.” Its meaning for me makes me think of aligning ourselves with a lifestyle that closely reflects our most basic values. A good list of the values I hold dear is the “Fruit of the Spirit” set forth by the Apostle Paul in Galatians 5:22-23. It is interesting to note that not one of the “fruits” Paul lists— love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control—names a particular person, place, object or thing, fame or fortune, or political party. Paul’s list, which embodies all of Christ’s teaching in a few well-chosen words, is about what is inside of us, what gives us integrity. Webster defines “integrity” in two ways: (1) the quality of being honest and fair, and (2) the state of being complete or whole. What better way to maintain our integrity and find wholeness than to live out God’s “spiritual fruits.” Hitch your wagon to the “Morning Star”—a reference to Jesus in Revelation 21—and see the Son shine brightly in your earthly life!

 

Morning Star, let me “hitch” myself to You and soar to great heights! Amen

 

Meg Blaine Corrigan tells stories of wisdom, strength, fear, joy and risk-taking. Daughter of a raging alcoholic mother, and survivor of sexual assault at gunpoint, Corrigan has shaken a dismal past and flung herself into the arms of Christ, Who sustains her in her daily walk of grace. She shares with her listeners her incredible story of surviving and thriving through many trials during her seven decades walking this fragile earth. She has been described as a Renaissance Woman, integrating her formal training in psychology and counseling, an enlightening experience as a percussionist for a Polynesian show troupe, and most recently as an inspirational author and blogger. Her exposure to many life experiences has enriched her passion for spreading Christ’s word and helping other trauma survivors. She has a Master’s Degree in Guidance and Counseling and thirty-plus years of experience in the field of counseling and social work.  She lives in Lake Elmo, Minnesota, with the love of her life, Patrick, and their formerly disenfranchised rescue dog Ginger. www.MegCorrigan.com    MegCorrigan@comcast.net

KEEPING OUR TANKS FULL

gaspumpI will praise the Lord, Who counsels me; even at night my heart instructs me. I keep my eyes always on the Lord. With Him at my right hand, I will not be shaken. Psalm 16:7-8

 

My husband and I are on a road trip, to escape the cold weather in our home state of Minnesota. We are taking mostly back roads, on our way to Gulf Shores, Alabama. Since we aren’t near any major highways, we are on the lookout for smaller, clean gas stations with reasonably priced fuel. We won’t take a chance on letting our tank approach empty since we are not sure where we might find the next gas station. This is also true of our own personal energy tanks: we want to make sure we have something to eat before we get too cranky, and we want to find a decent motel with a comfortable bed to lay our heads down before we become so exhausted we are a danger to each other and our dog.

 

Why is it that we can think so rationally about what we need to make our cars operate properly, to keep our stomachs full and our physical bodies rested—but we often abandon our efforts to stay spiritually nourished when we are away from home? In our defense, we bring along two daily devotional booklets, and we each have a Bible “app” on our phones. We read these devotions every day and we always pray before meals. But we will be on the road for the two Sundays we are on the trip, so church is out. So how can we remain spiritually fed while we are travelling?

 

The Psalmist says that the Lord is always with us; He gives us instructions, even when we sleep (Psalm 16:7). I have a choice, as we are driving down these beautiful, rolling, back country roads: I can ponder the problems in my everyday life, and all the sorrow and sadness in this world, or I can say as the Psalmist does, “my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body also will rest secure” (v. 9) I can praise God for this wonderful trip and the peace it is giving my husband and me.

 

Thank You, God! The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance! (v. 6) Amen

Meg Blaine Corrigan is the author of three books: Then I Am Strong: Moving From My Mother’s Daughter to God’s Child; Perils of a Polynesian Percussionist; and Saints With Slingshots: Daily Devotions for the Slightly Tarnished But Perpetually Forgiven Christian. She holds a Master’s Degree in Counseling from the University of New Mexico and has over thirty years’ experience working with survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, war veterans, and other trauma survivors.  Her books may be purchased through her website, www.MegCorrigan.com or from www.amazon.com .

GREAT GRATITUDE

Little Girl PrayingSing to the Lord with grateful praise; make music to our God on the harp. Psalm 147:7

 

Writer and television host Ben Stein once said, “Be grateful….It’s the only reliable get-rich-quick scheme.” This is a good reminder for me, not because I have made an exhaustive search of “get-rich-quick schemes,” but because I don’t trust anyone or anybody who tells me I can get rich quick! I’ve certainly had my share of moments when I thought, “Money isn’t everything…but I’d sure like to have some, just to check that premise out!” I’m a creative person, and I appreciate beautiful things: clothes, jewelry, houses, furniture, cars, food, you name it! But I am grateful that I don’t have the kind of money or lifestyle where I can purchase any thing I want any time I want. Getting rich just to get rich seems like an awful waste of time!

 

Instead, tonight I’m thinking of all the things for which I am grateful that don’t cost a lot of money. I’m grateful for this fifteen-year-old computer that still lets me type my devotional posts. I’m grateful for the friend who helped me set up my devotional blog (almost) for free, and I’m certainly grateful that I know how to post on my blog (at my age). I’m grateful every day for the ideas God gives me for my devotions. He has never let me down, when I wrote a blog a day a few years ago, and still now when I write one a week. The snippets of Scripture or quotes from people like Ben Stein have me scrambling to get them down before I forget them. Sometimes all I get down is a word or a phrase, but I’m grateful it’s enough to go back and expand on that idea. The process makes me read things more carefully and notice the world around me more fully than I would if I wasn’t always writing about my world. What a blessing to view everything I see, hear and read as potential material for a special devotional! To think I could be stumbling through this world not noticing all the “little” things that really are not so “little” after all.

 

Lord of All Good Gifts, I’m grateful that I have my senses—seeing, hearing, tasting, smelling, feeling, and even caring about the world You have provided around me! Amen

 

Meg Blaine Corrigan finds ideas for her devotional blogs in everyday places and events, from comic strips to magazines and books, comments on the fly from people she meets, ancient memories of her childhood, and nigglings from God. To date, she has written nearly 700 different devotions, filling one book of daily readings, Saints With Slingshots: Daily Devotions for the Slightly Tarnished But Perpetually Forgiven Christian, published in 2015. Meg is working on a second book (Saints TWO) which she had hoped would be completed by now. She posts once a week, which means in seven years, she will have enough entries to fill a second book. Sometimes life gets in the way of writing, so Meg is pacing herself, enjoying spending time with her husband, their four daughters and spouses, ten grandchildren and two great-grandchildren, as well as their rescue dog, Bassett/Beagle mix Ginger. Meg is involved in volunteer work at her church, Christ Lutheran in Lake Elmo, Minnesota, and also with sexual violence/sex trafficking prevention and education. She speaks to groups whenever she if offered the opportunity. She is a voracious reader of other people’s writing, which gives her lots of ideas for more devotional blogs. Read more about her at www.MegCorrigan.com or contact her at MegCorrigan@comcast.net .

GRAMBULANCE

ambulance “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28

 

Do you have (or had) a grandmother or grandfather to whom you turned for comfort in tough times? I never knew any of my grandparents. But I know many folks who remember at least one grandma or grandpa always being there to listen, to give hugs, to spend undistracted time with them when they were young. In our modern society, grandparents may move to senior housing rather than live with relatives. Families live far and wide today, making daily contact with older relatives impossible. But if you were or are one of the lucky ones, to have frequent contact with elder family members who care about you, you are blessed with a wealth of wisdom and problem-solving ability developed over many years. Although your parents care about you too, they are often caught up in keeping you safe and out of trouble—plus they are usually busy with work or other life activities. Your grandparents can, in many ways, provide you with some of the most honest and accurate information about life that you are able to get—and they love doing that!

 

As a grandmother and a great-grandmother myself, I’ve tried to be that special resource person to my grandkids. In fact, I even coined a word to describe what an active grandparent can be. Grambulance, a combination of the words “gramma” or “grampa” and “ambulance,” describes the special relationships young people have with their older family members. Like an ambulance, a grandparent is often available as soon as you need them. You can call or text them and they can often answer right away. They are filled with “equipment” to help you survive a broken heart or a bad grade or even your parents’ arguments or separation or divorce. Grandparents have seen and heard and done a lot in their lives, and they’ve learned how to handle tough situations. They also shepherded your own parents through some of the same crises you are now encountering; and experience is an excellent teacher. “Grambulances” may not have lights and sirens, but they are a rolling source of emergency measures to help you whenever you need them.

 

Lord, help us to see the wisdom in our older relatives! They love us as You do and are there to help us! Amen

 

Meg Blaine Corrigan finds ideas for her devotional blogs in everyday places and events, from comic strips to magazines and books, comments on the fly from people she meets, ancient memories of her childhood, and nigglings from God. To date, she has written nearly 700 different devotions, filling one book of daily readings, Saints With Slingshots: Daily Devotions for the Slightly Tarnished But Perpetually Forgiven Christian, published in 2015. Meg is working on a second book (Saints TWO) which she had hoped would be completed by now. She posts once a week, which means in seven years, she will have enough entries to fill a second book. Sometimes life gets in the way of writing, so Meg is pacing herself, enjoying spending time with her husband, their four daughters and spouses, ten grandchildren and two great-grandchildren, as well as their rescue dog, Bassett/Beagle mix Ginger. Meg is involved in volunteer work at her church, Christ Lutheran in Lake Elmo, Minnesota, and also with sexual violence/sex trafficking prevention and education. She speaks to groups whenever she if offered the opportunity. She is a voracious reader of other people’s writing, which gives her lots of ideas for more devotional blogs. Read more about her at www.MegCorrigan.com or contact her at MegCorrigan@comcast.net .

OVERWHELMING DEBT

Woman managing the debtLet no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law. Romans 13:8

 

In today’s world of uncertain medical coverage and greedy health providers, an entire family’s resources can be threatened or wiped out by one catastrophic illness. Just ask the 472 families across Arkansas and Texas who recently found out that their medical bills of hundreds and in some cases thousands of dollars were being paid off by a church in a state a thousand miles from them. A Lord of Life Church member in Brooklyn Park, a suburb of Minneapolis, told his pastor about “RIP Medical Debt,” a non-profit led by two former debt collectors familiar with the health industry. RIP buys debt from hospitals and providers with funds donated from celebrities, churches, and other organizations. The debt is bought up for pennies on the dollar, so even modest donations can eliminate a huge debt for those who have no other way to pay their medical bills. Lord of Life Church raised $15,000 in the fall of 2019, enough to pay off $1.6 million in medical debt! So why didn’t they use the money in their (my) home state of Minnesota? Well, state protections in Minnesota limit the purchase of debt. Undaunted, Lord of Life decided it would still use the money to help people in some of the poorer parts of our nation; hence, the gifts went towards medical bills for families in two southern states. (The church has plans to raise more money to help locals with medical debt.)

 

In Romans 13:8, the Apostle Paul speaks of our compelling responsibility to love others, thereby fulfilling the second part of Christ’s Great Commandment (Matthew 22:37-40: Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. ‘This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”). How can mere mortals love with that much surety and abandon? By never doubting the power of God to direct our efforts to the right person in the right place at the right time!

 

Giver of All Good Gifts, open our hands and hearts and help us to love with surety and abandon. Amen

 

For more information about the RIP Medical Debt program, or to make a donation, go to: https://ripmedicaldebt.org/

 

Meg Blaine Corrigan tells stories of wisdom, strength, fear, joy and risk-taking. Daughter of a raging alcoholic mother, and survivor of sexual assault at gunpoint, Corrigan has shaken a dismal past and flung herself into the arms of Christ, Who sustains her in her daily walk of grace. She shares with her listeners her incredible story of surviving and thriving through many trials during her seven decades walking this fragile earth. She has been described as a Renaissance Woman, integrating her formal training in psychology and counseling, an enlightening experience as a percussionist for a Polynesian show troupe, and most recently as an inspirational author and blogger, to the delight of all who read her work and hear her speak. Her exposure to many life experiences has enriched her passion for spreading Christ’s word and helping other trauma survivors. She has a master’s degree in Guidance and Counseling and thirty-plus years of experience in the field of counseling and social work.  She lives in Lake Elmo, Minnesota, with the love of her life, Patrick, and their formerly disenfranchised rescue dog Ginger. www.MegCorrigan.com    MegCorrigan@comcast.net

RESTING GRINCH FACE

grinch1.0A cheerful heart is a good medicine,  but a downcast spirit dries up the bones. Proverbs 17:22

 

We’ve all met them. They seem to be everywhere during the Christmas season. Some people just can’t get into the mood for Christ’s birth, no matter what anyone says to them. If you wish them a Merry Christmas, they scowl at you or just turn and walk away. They suck the energy right out of the office Christmas party, and they haunt family gatherings. They won’t tell us what’s bothering them, or what has set them off. They aren’t happy about it being Christmas and they are going to try hard to make the rest of us unhappy too.

 

What do we do about people who spend the entire Advent season wearing a “resting Grinch face?” We can try to console them, engage them in a positive conversation about something, anything! Maybe they have bad memories of Christmas past. I know a woman whose parents were divorced whose only childhood memories of Christmas were about being shuffled from one parent’s home to the other, with little time to enjoy or appreciate either side of the family. Others may associate Christ’s birth with their own feelings of inadequacy or shame or guilt. Grieving for the loss of a loved one, a job, one’s health, or a relationship can add to the holiday blues. Some folks are genuinely turned off by the commercialization of this sacred occasion (count me among them!). And still more people dread being alone on Christmas because there isn’t a single person with whom they can plan to spend the holiday.

 

The “resting Grinch faces” of the world need our understanding and compassion, not our judgement. Holiday blues are different from mental illness, but short-term mental health problems can lead to clinical anxiety and depression. One of the best ways to help people who are unhappy during the Holidays is to include them in our lives and our activities. We may need to remain vigilant and be patient. The season is short, but Christ came not to condemn us but to offer us peace and healing. He would want us to keep that uppermost in our minds.

 

Child of Wonder, You came to us when the world was hurting, just as it is now. Help us spread the light of Your love now and all year long. Amen

 

Meg Blaine Corrigan finds ideas for her devotional blogs in everyday places and events, from comic strips to magazines and books, comments on the fly from people she meets, ancient memories of her childhood, and nigglings from God. To date, she has written nearly 700 different devotions, filling one book of daily readings, Saints With Slingshots: Daily Devotions for the Slightly Tarnished But Perpetually Forgiven Christian, published in 2015. Meg is working on a second book (Saints TWO) which she had hoped would be completed by now. She posts once a week, which means in seven years, she will have enough entries to fill a second book. Sometimes life gets in the way of writing, so Meg is pacing herself, enjoying spending time with her husband, their four daughters and spouses, ten grandchildren and two great-grandchildren, as well as their rescue dog, Bassett/Beagle mix Ginger. Meg is involved in volunteer work at her church, Christ Lutheran in Lake Elmo, Minnesota, and also with sexual violence/sex trafficking prevention and education. She speaks to groups whenever she if offered the opportunity. She is a voracious reader of other people’s writing, which gives her lots of ideas for more devotional blogs. Read more about her at www.MegCorrigan.com or contact her at MegCorrigan@comcast.net .

ROCK ON, LITTLE DRUMMER BOY!

Little Drummer Boy ComicalPraise him with tambourine and dance; praise Him with strings and pipe! Psalm 150:4

 

“The Little Drummer Boy,” originally known as “Carol of the Drum,” is a song written by American classical music composer and teacher Katherine Kennicott Davis in 1941. The Trapp Family Singers first recorded the song in 1951; many other recordings and performances followed. A twelfth-century French legend is said to have been the inspiration for the song. The lyrics tell of a poor boy who was invited by the Maji to come see the Baby Jesus in His manger. The boy had no gift for the Infant King, but he played his little drum. The boy says, “I played my best for Him,” and “He smiled at me.”

 

This song has long had a special meaning for me, since I play trap set drums in our church’s contemporary band. During Advent, we play seasonal traditional and contemporary songs in the worship services. Christmas Eve is filled with special music from all our music groups—choir, bells, youth, solos, instrumentalists, as well as our band. With my husband on bass guitar, and others playing keyboards, rhythm guitar, congas, horns, and several of us singing, it is an honor and a delight to lead worship on such a sacred night. I am encouraged by the words of the psalmist, telling of those ancient people of God using all kinds of musical instruments in worship. I cannot imagine a church service, baptism, wedding or funeral without instrumental and vocal offerings, and I am humbled to be a part of our worship music.

 

The story of The Little Drummer Boy is fanciful; it is highly unlikely that a real boy possessing a drum was around Bethlehem the night of our Lord’s birth. But the point of the tale is that each of us has unique “gifts” to offer in service to our King. Galatians 5:22 names but a few of these special gifts: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness. Believers all over this diverse world can fill in the blanks with others: hospitality, discernment, lifting others up, fighting oppression. Volunteer opportunities abound in healthcare, childcare, ending hunger, teaching, ecology, protecting wildlife. Can you bring your unique gift to the Christ Child this Christmas? Opportunities are as varied as the human imagination.

 

Jesus, stir us to bring our gifts to You this Christmas. Amen